Graphics Quality Tests
We used the following settings for this test:
Just like Duke Nukem Forever, F.E.A.R. 3 engine is far from being the innovation of the year, but at the same time it proves to be a tough nut to crack for contemporary graphics accelerators. Looks like you will have to literally pay for your ultimate gaming experience inside of a computer store. But how much of the image quality are you willing to compromise in order to experience the game at its best and at the same time not to put all your family savings into an expensive graphics accelerator?
I have to say that for 2011 the picture sometimes looks kind of old. Faded low-quality textures, narrow hallways and small rooms. Almost zero open spaces and hardly any room for maneuvers. However, interesting shoot-outs that require maximum focus even in with the lowest difficulty settings make the game feel not too script-heavy.
On the other hand, all above mentioned drawbacks create one big advantage. The color scheme and design of the gaming levels with smart use of fog and shadows create very unique atmosphere that will be totally up to the expectations of the horror-fans.
The CPU speed hardly affects the fps rate at all, so the major bottleneck in the system will be the graphics accelerator alone, and not the CPU.
While in DNF the best antialiasing algorithm was FXAA mode, in this case it is secondary. The performance boost from the use of a less complex algorithm is obvious: almost 50% for AMD Radeon HD 6950 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti. On the other hand, we, unfortunately, can’t recommend FXAA settings: the result will look like someone is permanently pressing on the Blur button in Photoshop. Trying to eliminate the jagged contours of the objects on the screen, you will lose texture clarity. The vegetation will also suffer substantially. I doubt you will be willing to sacrifice so much for the soft contours of washed-out objects.
Different CPUs start affecting results, but the advantage still makes only 2-3%. Looks like this game is not really sensitive to the CPU clock speed after all.
Overall you can hardly notice that the picture quality gets worse once you enable lower quality textures and shadows. However, when you give up the controversial FXAA algorithm, the textures start to pop up even if you have High profile instead of Very High, as in the previous case. The performance gain in this case is 35-40% and the average fps rate doesn’t go below 90. Overall, this gaming mode is an acceptable compromise between performance and image quality in the new F.E.A.R. 3.
The CPU still doesn’t have any influence over the results, so whatever financial resources you have, invest into a graphics card.
This mode is the last chance to at least remotely feel the F.E.A.R. 3 atmosphere. Unfortunately, the texture quality here is significantly lower. As for the algorithms creating, applying and smoothing out the shadows, they are satisfactory at best. Depending on the complexity of the scene and the special effects the modes with Medium and High settings look differently, but in any case it is always best to play with High settings, if possible.
Despite significant visual changes, the performance doesn’t improve much: there is only a 10-18% gain. Also, keep in mind that with the average fps rate about 100+, you do not need a faster processor.
This traditional mode with minimal quality settings produces nothing like a shooter with a horror feel. You obviously won’t be pleased (horrified?) as the game developers intended, so we strongly advice to avoid this mode at all costs. Finally, if you are just in the mood to shoot someone, pick a different game, which doesn’t focus on fear and horror.